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The Gift of the Priesthood

August 29th, 2013by Wayne Topp

On Friday, July 19, 2013, the Vocation Office officially posted the first of its brand new series videos in a project filmed and produced by US Digital Partners and on Monday, July 22nd they officially launched its promotion and it has been met with wild enthusiasm. For a video that is nearly 10 minutes long on YouTube it has already been seen over 5000 times by people all across the nation in just its first month! And the series launch has only just begun!

Of course, every project like this has a little bit of a back story and this one is no exception. A couple months ago, David Brecount, the founder of USDP (the vocation office’s web development company), recently added video capabilities to his company’s list of services offered and reached out to Fr. Kyle Schnippel, the vocation director, to see if we would be interested in updating our current line of videos (the Man Behind the Collar series – which have also received fantastic reviews). Fr. Schnippel immediately jumped at the opportunity.

Fr. Schnippel was originally hoping to produce a video that would replace what is currently shown to men who attend the Andrew Dinners that run 6 times a year. However, David had a greater vision for this first video.  David’s idea was to create a video that showcased what Cincinnati had to offer and really put on display Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in a way that was true to life and doesn’t overinflate the expectations of the men who may choose to enter. He also wanted to be able to re-introduce this building that seems so mysterious to the people who pass it every day and to those who have forgotten that Cincinnati is able to educate and train its own seminarians to become priests. This is a real treasure in the Archdiocese and it is a very exciting time in the Archdiocese’s history.  For the past several years, we have seen a growing number of seminarians every year and we don’t anticipate that trend to decline anytime into the foreseeable future!

In addition to the seminary building, the first video also gives people a chance to meet some of the priests who help to run the seminary and who give it its vision and direction. They also get to see the seminarians in action, in prayer, in class and just hanging out. It’s a beautiful video that allows people on the outside, especially men who are in discernment about their own priestly vocation, to truly get a real life glimpse of the place and the people who help to form our men into the priests they are being called to become.

Since the launch of the first video, a series of three shorter videos have gone live. The first of these is focused on three of our seminarians who tell about life in the seminary from the seminarian’s perspective as well as giving a snippet of their vocational discernment that led them to the seminary. The second of the videos is a closer look at Fr. Earl Fernandes, the academic dean of the seminary and a young priest whose parents hail from India and whose childhood was marked by discrimination and the need to cling to the one thing he definitely had in common with his fellow Catholic peers, his faith. The final video, just launched this week, features Fr. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, the rector of the seminary. He tells of his discernment from a small boy in Dublin, Ireland to becoming a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

All the videos can be found at

Wayne Topp

Wayne Topp is the Associate Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is married with 4 beautiful children and is a parishioner at Our Lady of Victory in Delhi Township.